Arizona Board Of Education Votes To Review New K-12 Grade Metric

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 10:05am

Emotions ran high before the Arizona State Board of Education Monday night as school principals questioned and criticized the methods behind the newly released school grades.

"This is devastating to our staff, to our community and to this principal," said Mari Jo Mulligan, principal of Thunderbolt Middle School.

Mulligan drove down from Lake Havasu, as did dozens of other principals from their communities, to convince the State Board of Education to take another look at its new grading system.

Mulligan said she felt helpless watching her "B" performing school drop to an "F" under the new policy.

Of Arizona's schools in high poverty neighborhoods, less than 5 percent received "A" grades under the new metrics, while 25 percent failed.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's spokesperson Daniel Scarpinato acknowledged that the new system appears to have missed important factors needed to measure performance of lower income schools.

"You've got to make sure that you've got the right data," Scarpinato said. "And you've got to make sure that these grades really are reflective of the work that's going on in the school."

The new metric has few fans.

Administrators from wealthier school districts complained the system left no room for measuring improvement among students who already score at the top of the metric.

Board members agreed unanimously to have independent experts review and recommend changes.

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